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Latest SEO news

Latest SEO news

SEO perspective-wise, nothing really earth-shattering happened this week. We take this opportunity to point out a study and an article offering useful tips for search engine optimization.


Felix Meyer from Seokratie has measured and checked which snippet tools deliver the best results. Google itself does not offer a tool into which one could enter title and description and then the optimal length would be displayed. There is a simple reason for this: Google wants to keep all doors open when it comes to the length of the title and description.

An incorrect length of title and description is therefore not a direct ranking signal. In principle, one could also write a very long title: In its full splendour, however, no user would ever see it. Space on the search results page (SERP) is limited. Google therefore simply cuts off titles that are too long. Not only does this look unattractive, it also usually doesn’t encourage you to click. Indirectly, therefore, the length of title and description is a ranking signal.

As far as the descriptions are concerned, Google sports the opinion that it knows best what users would like to read there. In almost 60% of the cases, Google extracts the text for the description itself from the content. This way it can react to the entered search term and the individual search history. Nevertheless, nobody should refrain from entering a description: It provides Google with important clues as to what the page in question is aimed at.


Therefore, it is not so easy to give general recommendations for their length. The study by Seokratie comes to the conclusion that a title should have a maximum of 569 pixels or 65 characters. Since mobile also wraps the title into a second line, your title should be at least 40 characters or about 330 pixels long. This is how your site gets more attention in the SERPs.

A description should be at least 100 characters long and no more than 290 characters long. Whether the full description is displayed is always decided by Google on a case-by-case basis. It is recommended to always put the most important things at the beginning of the description. The end result should rather be a request to visit the site or a call-to-action. If this is not displayed, users still know what they can expect on the site.

According to the study, Screaming Frog’s tool was the most reliable. However, first the tool needs to be downloaded. If you just want to check for the right length quickly, you can also visit Torben Leuschner’s tool. This does not warn you if your title or description becomes too long, but you now know how long they can or should be.


This suspicion is obvious when you look at a new patent. According to this patent, Google is working on getting to know things, people and places better. The key term for this is “entities”. In the field of Semantics, this means clearly recognizable terms with characteristic properties. Google has patented the answer to the question of how such entities can be used for a search engine.

At its core, this patent amounts to a huge database of semantic entities in which the relationships between the entities are recorded. Google is thus further freed from dependence on backlinks. For each search query, Google can now refer to this database to see which terms semantically belong to the search term entered. The names Barack Obama, George Bush and Bill Clinton, for example, often appear on pages that at least touch on the topic of “US President”. Google recognizes these relationships and can therefore also refer to pages in which the individual names mentioned appear, but not the term “US President”.

All this is not entirely new, but joins seamlessly into the holistic-semantic restructuring of the search engine. The patent and the entity database refine and complete Google’s understanding of terms. Ronald Reagan, for example, should be mentioned far more frequently as “US President” than as an actor. Although Reagan was an actor for much longer, Google “knows” that the term “Ronald Reagan” is almost always aimed at the term “US President”.

This is extremely important for online marketing. This way Google can give better weight to the content of pages. When asked about “Ronald Reagan”, it will therefore be preferable to have pages that also have something to say about the topic “US President”. In other words, Google no longer relies on links to create relationships between terms and topics. It has a database in which the relationships between the words (or rather “entities”) are stored and can be retrieved. The whole thing is like a kind of entity page rank – only much more powerful. Since this is only a patent, you should definitely continue to work on the link profile of your pages.


Latest SEO news

Latest SEO news

The seo-nerd regularly views SEO blogs and news pages for you. In week KW15 2018 he noticed the following:


When you enter a search term on a mobile device in Google search, no more page numbers (pagination) appear at the bottom of the page, but “Further results” (see screenshot). If you click on this button, further results will appear. The advantage: the further results load faster now, since they are integrated into the existing page.

Der Weitere-Ergebnisse-Button von Google

Weitere Ergebnisse-Button von Google

For publishers, this creates new opportunities: even those who appear further back in the search results (classically speaking: from page 2 of the search results page and further) will probably now be able to hope more often for clicks from users. By the way, Google does not rule out that the button “More results” could also be introduced soon for the desktop search. This would mean nothing less than the end of page 2 for the SERPs.


In a hangout, John Müller (Google’s “contact point” for webmasters on SEO issues) explained why even well-done pages with strong content can sometimes lose rankings. The reason for this is that Google not only considers the quality of web pages, but also their relevance for the respective search query. And this can change over time.

Ranking losses do not always have to point out errors or poor quality of a page. In some cases, the search behavior of users simply changes. An example of this would be the release of a new iPhone model. This would automatically change the weighting and thus the relevance of pages on the topic of smartphones. As soon as the hype about the newest model diminishes, again more general sides can be in demand around the topic.

Müller recommends, however, always to take a closer look at the page again in the event of ranking fluctuations. Are all contents still indexable? Are the outgoing links still correct? In addition, it is of course always useful to ask your own users for feedback to the site to find out what should be changed.


If you use images of a stock photo provider for your site, you should not use the provider’s search from an SEO perspective. You will achieve better rankings if you select a photo that already ranks well with your keyword in Google’s image search.

Use the “site:” command in Google’s image search like this:

“site:URL-STOCK PROVIDER/ KEYWORD” (space after the URL)

This way you’ll get the photo that matches your keyword best on Google. This strengthens your site for the keyword you are targeting. The reason for this is: Google stores a kind of meta-image for each image. If the word “cat” also appears in the old text, in the title of the image, in the description and in the textual environment of the image, Google will evaluate this meta-image as a search result for the keyword cat.

Therefore, make sure that you always mark images as consistently as possible. If you would use the cat picture for example in an article about tigers, lions and other big cats, Google will irritate at least once. You could still use the picture, of course. However, it would be advisable to use at least one more picture, which ranks well with the term “big cat”. This way Google understands the intention of your article better and you have a better chance to rank with your article for the desired keyword.

By the way, you when awarding images. Your keyword should even appear in the old text, the title, the description and the text around the image.


Ranking with two keywords (or more) on one page is no problem. The requirement is that both keywords match the topic of the page. This fact, already known in SEO circles since 2005, has now once again been confirmed by Google employee Aaseeh Marina in the Webmaster Central Help Forum.


Maccabees Update

The Maccabees Update is part of the Google strategy to boost the quality of webpages.

The Maccabees Update is part of a long tradition Google prefers to deny. The cat-and-mouse-game follows a certain dramaturgy: SEO Analysts observe ups and downs in rankings and assume a recent update of Google’s algorithm structure. Google itself appeases ups and downs and rejects any rumours of a recent update. This is how the relationship between Google and SEO Analysts has been for years. The reason for this is very simple: Both sides focus on the same (Search Engine Result Pages, also known as SERPS), but do so from different angles.

The dispute between Google and SEO Analysts

Google by now applies 1000 to 1500 updates on a yearly basis. Usually, this only causes minimal changes in SERPs. Since the application of the Hummingbird algorithm with its focus on a semantic and holistic search (between 2013 and 2015) Google particularly publishes smaller updates. The reason is quite obvious: Neither users nor most webmasters will get nervous. The tactic of applying smaller updates is Google’s reaction to its experiences with huge updates in former years (around 2015). Especially large penalty updates</strong< like Pinguin and Panda had massive impacts on the visibility of webpages and even crashed them causing the death of many smaller businesses.

SEO Analysts consider themselves to be the lawyers of webmasters. They have a strong interest in the methods websites use to rank. The predominent opinion with SEO experts is that they need to be the ones to know because Google holds back core information about this. Okay, there is the Google Webmaster Guidelines Paper. But even here you will only find very shallow rules about what webmasters should do or not. Google wriggles for an answer when it comes to what is essential for a page to be ranked. To find out nevertheless, SEO Analysts constantly trawl SERPs to find saliences. Doing so, they will ideally come to a conclusion which measures rank webpages successfully in the SERPs (and which not). We need to regard the Maccabees Update with this in mind.

A short history of the Maccabees Update

Tweets of Google team member Danny Sullivan about the Maccabees UpdateOn December 12th of 2017, SEO Analysts tracked noticeable ups and downs in SERPs.
Analysts monitored a loss of 20 to 30 percent, especially for organic traffic. The ups and downs were still trackable on December 13th and 14th. On his website Search Engine Roundtable, Barry Schwartz named the update “Maccabees” according to the Jewish Holidays of Chanukka being celebrated on those days. A short glimpse into the background of the name: The successful Maccabean Revolt, lasting from 167 to 160 B.C. enabled the ritual cleansing of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and established the place for Jewish worship. The Holidays of Chanukka celebrate this part of Jewish history.

Not before the 20th of December 2017 Google gave news about the update, appeasingly as usual. Google’s Search Engine Consultant Danny Sullivan rather announced “some usual changes due to routine”. He did not confirm an update which is why there is no official name for it.

The usual guessing game: What effects does the Maccabees Update have?

With Google denying the existence of a new update (again) the SEO Community was left with riddles (again) about what the update might be about. Roger Montti outlined the most frequent presumptions on Searchenginejournal:

    • Thesis 1: The Maccabees Update is part of the Mobile First Strategy. The thesis was discarded very soon when it was discovered that also pages which have already been optimized for mobile devices dropped in rankings.
    • Thesis 2: Maccabees affected the visibility on desktop searches in a higher rate than on mobile devices . A very interesting thesis, but discarded too according to a significant lack of evidence.
    • Thesis 3: It is a seasonal update connected with the upcoming Christmas time. The thesis was tempting but could not answer the question what this exactly intended. So this track was closed very soon too.
    • Thesis 4: The update has something to do with links. This is a classic when talking about Google’s updates. There are a lot of good examples to prove this thesis with Google proceeding against aggressive link strategies by now. Still, it does not fit in the bigger picture of all abnormalities of the Maccabees Update combined.

Finally a trace: The Maccabees Update is a member of the Fred’s Update Family

Name giver Barry Schwartz concluded from his analysis that Maccabees shows

      • typical symptons of the Fred Update.
      • a very noticeable pattern according to which pages are affected that only exist to vary keywords.

Symptoms of Fred

Fred was never officially confirmed by Google. In March 2017 SEO Analysts worldwide were occupied finding out what the update was about. Soon it was clear that especially websites which only served the purpose of earning money (through an overload of ads or affiliate links) had been punished. Characteristic features of those pages are

      • to contain content that is old, inferior, or simply too poor to serve the user’s search intent.
      • to overwhelmingly display ads.
      • to not offer other services than paid affiliate links to other shops.

Since the first rollout in March 2017 SEO-Analysts could track several smaller follow-ups of the Fred Update. As webpages with very few relevant content fell victim to the update it is widely considered to be a Quality Update. The Maccabees Update can be queued with this category.

No landingpages with keyword variants, please!

One of the favorite SEO strategies so far is building singular landingpages for keyword variants. With the Maccabees Update Google obviously put a stop to this strategy. The idea behind this strategy is spammy indeed: SEOs not only want to rank with one keyword but also with all its variants.

Here is an example: A craftsman wants to have his service listed with Google. He offers this service not only in Cologne but also in several different other German cities like Hannover, Frankfurt, or Berlin. Therefore he builds subpages for each city with the pattern:

Keyword= SERVICE + Keyword-Variant= NAME OF CITY.

The service is the exact same in every city, so the page’s content only varies in the name of the city. As Google attempts to take the view of the user and aims to deliver relevant search results, the strategy for landingpages with keyword variants is unnecessary and even annoying.

According to Google, only search results matching the search intent should be displayed to users. Therefore it is perfectly appropriate to explain the SERVICE once, but really good and with only as many words as necessary. Explaining the SERVICE again and again on different subpages creates a confusion for Google: Which page should rank in SERPs? The Maccabees Update has an answer to that: NONE.

How to handle keyword variants

Mid- and Long-Tail keywords will get more and more interesting for SEO competition. Voice Search with tools like Alexa, Cortana, and Siri is the reason for this. In oral form words tend to be longer. Webmasters who incorporate this major change will have the best chances to dominate rankings in the future. Still, not every single Mid-Tail oder Long-Tail keyword needs to be featured on separate subpages.

The better strategy would be to think around a topic. Connected to the example, this means to write one page for the SERVICE and mention the cities the SERVICE is also available.

It still can be appropriate to produce several different landingpages if the services vary from city to city in a way that service variation is really given. This can be also applied for products or product categories. The basic information for users is already given with explaining the product adequately on just one page. It is not necessary to copy the text for several different target groups with the intention to serve the keyword PRODUCT + TARGET GROUP.

Dominic Woodman presented an analysis on MOZ which comes to a very similar conclusion. He not only limits the effects of the update for pages that only use keyword variations to rank. He also sees an impact on pages dealing with a topic that has been widely covered with another article. Woodmann is not taking a counter position to Schwartz, but extends his thesis with another aspect.

Conclusion: The Maccabees Update perfectly goes along with Google’s strategy of the past years

The main attempt of this strategy is to rank pages higher that contain relevant content for search queries. At the same time other pages that obviously only want to attract user’s attention with keyword tactics are pushed to the bottom. When your texts succeed in describing your services and products well and also manage to answer customer’s questions you do not need to worry about the Maccabees Update. Even better, you do not need to worry about upcoming Quality Updates, because you are obviously already on the right track.

Mobile Speed turns into a ranking factor

Mobile Speeds becomes a Ranking Factor

Google turns its focus more consistently on the needs of mobile use: The page speed on mobile devices is now officially considered to be a ranking factor too. Google announced the news on its Webmaster Central Blog. The Speed Update will be rolled out in July 2018. This means for pages with a high mobile loading speed to be ranked better than the ones with a low one.

Mobile Speed turns into a ranking factor

My Google rankings dropped

Ausweg aus dem Dunkel: Was tun bei Rankingverlusten einer Website?

Not every person who looks after a website is necessarily a SEO expert, too. And there are still those who think, webmastering can be done along the way. Nevertheless, when rankings drop and page views go down drastically, you have to act. Even if everyone is running around like headless chickens, it’s better to keep calm and try to get the picture of what happened. The seo-nerd will tell you how to wield such emergencies.

My Google rankings dropped

An Update called Fred

Google Update gegen zu viel Werbung above the fold.

Since the beginning of March 2017 Google keeps sending shockwaves through the world of SEO. Websites with a large number of ads and little content suffered severe losses. The attack seemed to focus on commercial websites.

Rankings dropped over night and dozens of SERPs were lost for many, though there have been a few lucky winners who considerably improved their position reaching high rankings without optimizing a single thing on their website. This kind of SERP fluctuation broadly hints at Google adjusting another significant lever in their update strategy.

An Update called Fred

Micro-Moments – Mobile opens new touch points for brands

New touch points through mobile users

With the term Micro-Moments, Google tries to subsume the behavior of consumers changed by mobile devices. In more and more life situations, the web is only one click away. The constant availability of the Internet is far more than just an additional, nice feature that we owe to smartphones, tablets or laptops. Mobile, on the other hand, adds an additional dimension that must be understood to meet the mobile surfing behavior of people: the moment.

This applies especially to search queries. For a long time Google has included the intention of a search query before it makes link offers on the search results page.

Micro-Moments – Mobile opens new touch points for brands

SEO is dead. Long life SEO!

SEO is dead? There’s life in the old dog yet!

Mark Twain, Morgan Freeman and even Queen Elizabeth II share the same fate: false death notes, that threw the public into a dither.

Exactly the same SEO had to acquiesce for years. „SEO is dead“ can be read from time to time. But just like presumed dead stars, the search engine optimization returns with glory again and again.

SEO is dead. Long life SEO!

SEO Tips 2017

In 2017 the SEO pack will bei reshuffled. Looking at the SEO trends 2017 tension is guaranteed in the new year. There is much evidence that Google will lose its position as a sole gatekeeper in the web search. Curiously enough, that’s not only because of the search engine itself. In 2017 Google should again be better in serving the search intention of users with relevant search results. However, what currently changes rapidly is the framework of the search business Google dominated so far.

SEO Tips 2017